About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Creepy omniscience

“NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!” Shrieks Cardinal Ximenez in the famous sketch done by Monty Python.
    My seminary professor of church history was Amedo Molnar, worldwide expert and published scholar (books and articles in Czech, French, German and Italian) on medieval reform movements, especially Waldensians. In his classes we read the early inquisition records from the archives in Bohemia, Austria and Bavaria.
    To theology students under the communist regime it provided an interesting insight into the mentality of secret police. Technology progressed (medieval inquisitors did not have cameras or wiretapping), but the main techniques and mentality remained the same; the use of fear, ruthless efficiency, and almost fanatical devotion to institutions (to quote Monty Python again).
    Common modern prejudice portrays inquisitors as a bunch of pathological brutes. They were nothing like that! Inquisitors were intelligent, creative, thorough, organized, hard working, with the best of intentions and sincere in their convictions. They gathered and sorted information into comprehensive and reliable archives and produced theoretical studies as well as practical manuals. They instituted safeguards to protect the integrity of their processes and controlled their own human inclination for cruelty (for instance substantially limiting the use of torture). In all respects the inquisition was much gentler than the interrogation by the common feudal yeomen.
    All these achievements of inquisition don’t impress us anymore; they do not exonerate the process and this medieval institution. We simply don’t buy their primary premise. Heresy, a doctrinal challenge to the established church, might be real, but it is not and never really was any substantial threat to civilization. Heresy was just one of those labels which the authority used to keep people in fear and under control, to justify its schemes and its power.
    This Sunday we will ask why it is, that human pursuit of omniscience is always so creepy, thoroughly dangerous and in the end unsuccessful and cursed. The Biblical Psalmist (Psalm 139) will help us to ask even deeper questions; When and where did the religious notion of divine omniscience come from? Is divine omniscience really integral to our faith? Might it be that this divine omniscience is spiritually and psychologically unhealthy for humans and toxic even for God? What is the difference between god knowing-all and God feeling-all. What is the difference between god - the divine intelligence officer and the God of self-giving compassion?

Albigensians also known as Cathars
are driven by inquisition from the city of Carcassonne in 1209.

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